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Affordable and accessible point of entry to public housing

Nominated by the Department of Housing and Public Works

Challenge statement

The challenge is to provide innovative, safe, reliable and cost-effective ways to improve and manage point-of-door entry to residential public housing properties across Queensland, taking into account the diverse needs of tenants and their support networks.

Applications to solve this challenge closed 2pm (AEST) 26 September 2017.


If you are interested in collaborating to address this challenge, you may wish to review or register for inclusion on the list of organisations seeking partners.

Challenge imperative

The Queensland Government understands that secure housing is an essential foundation for Queenslanders to achieve other vital outcomes in life, including good health, quality education and strong employment opportunities. As such, the government is committed to delivering quality front line services to public housing tenants in a way that is both responsive to the diverse needs of tenants, and financially sustainable for the Queensland Government. 

The Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) currently owns and manages 53,700 residential properties. In order to maintain security of housing for the tenants of these properties, the locks and keys on each property are changed (re-keyed) when a tenant leaves. This is a considerable ongoing expense for the department, with approximately 4500 properties having to be re-keyed each year at a cost of approximately $1m per annum.

Additionally, costs are incurred by both DHPW and tenants in the instance that keys are lost or duplicates are required, as tenants may not create spare sets of keys for a variety of reasons, including financial constraints, not having an appropriate place or person to be custodian of these keys, or a simple omission to do so. There may be a delay in the process of re-cutting keys, during which tenants may experience frustration and loss of housing security, as access to their home is compromised while arrangements are made for replacement keys. Therefore, the needs of a diverse range of tenants and their support networks must be central to any potential solution to this problem.

The development of a new point-of-door entry system will ideally:

  • simplify the process of replacing keys and/or locks
  • reduce the administration and financial outlay currently associated with conventional re-keying processes.

Solving this challenge will improve access to safe, accessible and affordable homes across Queensland. The use of new technology and tools will create responsive solutions, flexible operations and innovations in service provision to public housing tenants, in line with the strategic priorities of the DHPW Strategic Plan 2016-2010 (PDF, 4MB)

Challenge context

The stakeholders involved

The Challenge Owner is the Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW).

DHPW is the agency responsible for government owned and managed social housing. The successful solution will be used primarily by public housing tenants. Other stakeholders who may benefit from the solution include the support networks of tenants (e.g. carers and family networks), emergency services, aged care providers, medical care providers, Housing Service Centres, and Building and Asset Services (all agencies/business units within DHPW).  

The current situation

The current process associated with replacing keys and re-keying residences is cumbersome, time consuming and costly for both tenants and DHPW, who manages the process.

Under the current system, in the instance of a change-over of tenancy, DHPW must re-key the residence, replacing all locks and keys, to ensure that the new occupant is granted secure and exclusive access to the dwelling.

When a key is lost or misplaced by a tenant, there are two ways in which key replacement may be facilitated:

  1. The tenant directly engages and pays a locksmith to come to the residence and provide a replacement key
  2. DHPW facilitates the replacement of keys on behalf of a tenant. The provision of this service is assessed on a case-by-case basis. For example, DHPW may facilitate replacement keys where a tenant is experiencing mental or physical disability, preventing access to a locksmith. In this instance, costs are charged back to the tenant.

The current process of replacing and managing keys and access to public housing dwellings is expensive and time consuming, and may no longer be an effective management of DHPW resources. Where DHPW facilitates a requested key replacement and charges the service cost back to tenants, there is often significant delay in cost recovery as tenants in many instances have limited disposable income, and the cost of replacing keys can be a significant and unplanned financial burden, which are in addition to the costs associated with re-keying dwellings at the end of a tenancy.

A range of solutions exist which partially address this challenge, including solutions used in the hotel industry, smart key locks that link to a smart phone, voice or visual recognition technology and keypad unlocking systems. Many of these solutions however, fail to take into account the diversity of technological ability and knowledge of public housing tenants, including the elderly and people who experience disability. The successful solution will need to align with broad user needs, and provide access for authorised parties in addition to tenants, including government health support workers, and emergency services.

Solution design parameters

The successful application will provide a simple, secure and useable residential door locking functionality that addresses the technical considerations and design benefits outlined below.

Technical considerations

The successful solution will need to demonstrate an ability to address the following requirements:

  • able to be implemented across a variety of types of existing door hardware, without major structural changes
  • a system which is easily replicable and can be used or tailored across urban, regional and remote locations
  • incorporates an implementation process with potential for a staged roll-out, to account for the volume of DHPW owned properties and the varying demographic of the public housing tenant base
  • robust in design, to withstand possible accidental or intentional property damage, and impact from the elements, such as wind, humidity, etc..
  • robust in terms of its resilience to outside tampering or loss of functionality/availability of supporting systems, and incorporating a fail-safe position to ensure the safety of the users
  • incorporates simple point of door entry and access solutions for government health support and emergency services
  • incorporate monitoring to allow for assessment of the long term impacts and benefits of the system
  • adherence to the following regulatory compliance requirements:
    • hardware compliance AS 4145 – locksets and hardware for doors and windows
    • fire door and jambs
      • AS 1905.1 - Component for the protection of openings in Fire-resistant walls and Fire-resistant door sets
      • AS 1851-2005 - Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment
    • disability access
      • AS 1428.1-2001 - Design for access and mobility, General requirements for access - New building work
    • security doors must meet Australian Standards (withstand impact tests)
      • AS5039-2008 - Security screen doors and security window grilles
    • access, egress standards
      • Building Code of Australia (BCA)
    • Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (PDF, 1.55KB) and RTRAA Regulations 2009
    • privacy requirements under the Information Privacy Act 2009 (PDF, 1.31MB) and Regulations.

Design benefits

The successful solution will simplify the management of traditional keyed entry points, reducing the administrative and financial burden across government associated with the existing system. The successful solution must:

  • be cost-effective, minimising the costs of management for DHPW, and replacement costs for both DHPW and tenants
  • be able to be used by tenants with varying needs including:
    • tenants experiencing physical and/or mental health issues
    • ageing tenants
    • financially vulnerable individuals or groups
    • tenants with limited access to hardware and software (e.g. smart phones and Wi‑Fi)
    • tenants with a limited ability to use technological solutions.

Commercial opportunities

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program aims to provide commercial opportunities for applicants, while at the same time, solving Queensland Government challenges via an innovative procurement process.

Successful applicants will receive funding to research, develop and test their idea. At the end of the process, applicants have the potential to secure a contract with the Queensland Government. Additionally, intellectual property developed within the SBIR program is retained by the party who developed it, allowing applicants the potential to access broader commercial opportunities.

In addition to immediate opportunities for selected applicants, a successful solution may be adapted to any other physical asset of government with secure access requirements. This may also extend the applicability of the successful solution across other Queensland Government departments.

Additional information

The following additional information has been provided:

How will applications be assessed?

Applications to this challenge will be assessed by an evaluation panel assembled by the Department of Housing and Public Works in accordance with all relevant Queensland Government Procurement policies.

Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  1. Addresses the challenge (Weighting: 30%)
    1. How well does the proposed solution address the design parameters (technical considerations and design benefits) identified in the challenge statement?
    2. How innovative is the proposed solution – new to market, or novel application of existing technology?
    3. How feasible is the proposed solution when scaled to address the challenge statement?
  2. Capability to deliver (Weighting: 25%)
    1. Does the applicant have the experience, skills and capacity to deliver the solution?
    2. Does the applicant have access to any necessary intellectual property?
    3. How viable is the development and supply of the proposed solution within the timeframes of the SBIR?
  3. Commercial potential (Weighting: 15%)
    1. How viable is the identified route to commercialise the proposed solution?
    2. Does the solution appear financially and commercially viable?
  4. Fair market value (Weighting: 15%)
    1. To what extent do the proposed development costs represent fair market value?
  5. Broader benefits for Queensland (Weighting: 15%)
    1. To what extent does the proposed solution offer broader benefits for Queensland?
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0)
Last updated
25 September, 2017

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